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The class of 2020 as first-year students in September 2016

A Letter to the Class of 2020 "The loss we felt at the suspension of campus life confirmed our love for this community. Our response was inspiring."

To the Class of 2020,

As I write this, several of our classmates are putting on varying approximations of Fancy Dress attire for a quarantined Saturday night that should have been more of a celebration. March 28 was supposed to be our last Fancy Dress. It would have been one of many lasts for the Class of 2020. Instead, our last games, performances, classes and traditions happened without us realizing.

Bolton-Will-262x350 A Letter to the Class of 2020Will Bolton ’20

I’m not sure how to cope with that. I’d be shocked if any of us know how. It’s impossible to quantify the loss of the memories we should have been able to make. That being said, I take comfort in the simple reality of our disappointment and the determination to make the most of our circumstances. The loss we felt at the suspension of campus life confirmed our love for this community. Our response was inspiring. We immediately celebrated our time left with dinners, pictures on the Colonnade, and watching several sunrises.

The grief – and I can’t think of another word for our reaction over the past two weeks – demonstrates just how much W&L has meant to all of us for the three-and-a-half years we did get. As sorry as I am for the eight missed weeks with the Class of 2020, I’m more grateful for the time we had, the memories we made, and the spontaneous GroupMe that formed as a reaction to being forced apart too soon.

By the end of this outbreak, I’m hopeful that we will have more for which to be thankful than upset. Even now, many throughout our country are suffering the worst impacts of this virus. While we lost part of a senior year, many are losing their livelihoods, their health or their loved ones. I know that for some of our classmates, this virus could be life-altering in ways much more severe than leaving Lexington too soon.

Even so, there is no denying that we have been collectively robbed. However, nothing that was stolen cannot be replaced. The Class of 2020 is unique in that we will graduate without as much time together as we deserved. In response, we can make a unique effort to care about one another, remain close and return to our home in Lexington as often as possible. We can turn our disappointment into renewed comradery, even as we move across the country and the world. I look forward to the remaining time we have together, the countless alumni events after graduation, and the opportunities we have to remain friends wherever we end up. Although we will not get the graduation ceremony we had envisioned in May, I’m confident our friendship is not contingent upon walking across a stage.

Thank you for the times we have had and for those still to come.

~ Will Bolton ’20

2020LEE-800x533 A Letter to the Class of 2020Then President Ken Ruscio ’76 addresses the class of 2020 in Lee Chapel.